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Tips for promoting your family's physical fitness

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Physically Fit Families Are Built Here


The start of a new year is the perfect time to take a look at our family's physical fitness. As parents we know that modeling is the best way to influence children. . . so, let's focus on improving our own physical health, as well as setting our children up for a lifetime of fitness!  



·         Today's children are about 15% less aerobically fit than children 30 years ago.

·         There has been a dramatic rise in pediatric obesity in recent years.

·         Many schools are reducing physical education classes and time for recess.

·         "Screen time" (television, videos, computers, and video games) is an ever-increasing part of daily life, leading to sedentary lifestyles.

·         Children and adolescents (ages 5 - 17) need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most days of the week, preferably daily.  (Toddlers and preschoolers need exercise, too!)

·         Active play for young children and physical exercise for older children and adolescents improves both physical and mental health.

·         Children with special health care needs can and should enjoy physical activity as much as any other child.

·         Physical activity has been shown to significantly help children/adolescents cope with stress.  

·         Participating in regular physical activity helps children develop skills and pastimes they can enjoy throughout their lives. 

·         Research shows that being a physically active child is linked with improved school performance.  





·         Lead by example and make physical activity a conscious choice, e.g., take the stairs; walk (instead of drive) whenever possible; engage in activities with your child such as hiking, canoeing, and biking; play games that require catching and throwing as well as those that strengthen bones, such as gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, and tennis.

·         Prioritize by scheduling times to participate in physical activities with your child.

·         Sign up for a 5K or "fun walk" and train with your child.  The Little Rock Marathon is March 2nd!!

·         Focus on activities that promote having fun and developing motor skills and fitness rather than on competition. 

·         Set an appropriate pace when beginning any activity, follow training guidelines, and keep your doctor informed of your child's exercise program.






·         These are golden moments to communicate and listen to whatever your child has to say while walking, running, or playing.

·         Children can still experience the value of physical activity and personal challenge -- even if they do not choose to participate in organized or team sports.  

·         Walking, running, and playing is a perfect way to explore various settings, e.g., nature trails, parks, conservatories, etc.  

·         Physical activity is not dependent on expensive equipment. . . you can walk almost everywhere!

·         Many forms of physical activity can become a personal challenge so that the child develops a clear sense of commitment to a goal.  Be sure to recognize achievements along the way. 

·         This is a great opportunity to be positive and to celebrate everyone's efforts!



Sources /Websites to Explore


American Academy of Pediatrics

Bright Futures - Guidelines for Health Supervision on Infants, Children, and Adolescents 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

President's Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition

Runner's World



Compiled by:  

Sharon Long, M.S., Parent Education Coordinator,  January 2014

Prevention Services/ Centers for Youth and Families

5905 Forest Place, Suite 205

Little Rock, AR   72207

GO! Families is a new CFYF program designed to build healthier families through nutrition and exercise.      

The 9 week course sponsored by Blue and You and is available for clients currently enrolled in CFYF outpatient services. Ask your provider if you are eligible for this opportunity to get  fit in 2014.


Centers for Youth & Families

Parent Resource Center

5905 Forest Place

Little Rock, AR 72207